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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dr. Child's Unorthodox Class


Incident Type: Illegal Misconduct


Incident Details:

Dr. Brian Child is known by faculty and staff to have something of an odd teaching style. He would use many sorts of odd and unusual examples and tests in his teaching, both metaphorical and physically present. Occasionally he would test his own students to see what their reaction was. As he was a psychology teacher, his students felt as if this was normal. His character hinted at him being eccentric, but nothing as extreme as his final class had ever been noted to have happened.

The following is the transcript of Dr. Child's 2:05PM PSYCH1502 class, as taken by third year psychology student Mary Telling. Ms. Telling sat in the back row and records videos of class for later. She states that this is her normal routine for her, as she claims it aids her study and she is unable to take notes as quickly as most other students.

[The video stream begins at 2:03pm with off-hand talking of the day's events and student's lives, presumably just before class begins. The 200-person lecture hall is generally full, with few empty seats. There are wooden doors behind the speaking area where a few stray students enters class at the last minute . Four electronic SMART boards line the farthest wall, with a long wooden desk as a border between lecturer and class. At the end is a podium with a standard Hilling University computer, connected directly to the four projectors in the room.

Dr. Child walks into the room, dressed in a white button-up, black suit jacket, light blue tie, and dark slacks. He is carrying a bag stuffed with a large, heavy object still out of sight. In one hand is a foggy, recently warmed tupperware container with food inside. Following him in is a young boy of 13 years, with general messy features including unkempt hair, torn clothes that are too large for him, and dirt on his face. He is approximately 5'9" with blue eyes, brown hair, and looks slightly underweight. He is staring at the tupperware container longingly, seemingly unaware of the mass of students watching. Dr. Child places the tupperware container on the wooden table, and the bag next to it. He takes out an instrument form the bag that vaguely resembles a defibrillator, referred to as "the shocker". Placing the bag on the floor, he walks over to the lecture hall computer and enters his login credentials. Murmurs run through the crowd as to what the boy is doing with the professor as Dr. Child turns the SMART boards to display four puzzles. He then takes some time to attach the shocker to the computer through a USB cable, works for two minutes on the computer, then begins his lecture.]

"Alright, let's get started. I'm sure you've noticed this little one with me. If not, then you might need more help than glasses can give you."

[Slight nervous laughter]

"He is here to assist me with class today. I have decided to skip ahead in my lectures for today and go straight to the topic of motivation. What drives us? What keeps us going? What is it that convinces us to do what it is we do? Let me bring your attention to our gut instincts, the need for survival…"

[Dr. Child lectures for approximately ten minutes before finally drawing attention back to the boy. The boy has been sitting in a desk off to the side, out of the way of the SMART boards. His eyes never leave the tupperware container other than to glance up at Dr. Child.]

"…which brings me to my little exhibition. As I said, people will do anything necessary to survive, as it is out instinct. This poor little one hasn't eaten anything but scraps for two days. The need to survive is strong for him - and he couldn't care less about anything else other than the warm, delicious meal waiting for him."

[The boy's eyes light up as he looks directly at Dr. Child. A grin appears on his face.]

"But first, let us see how motivated he really is. Lucas, come here. You must solve the leftmost maze before being allowed to eat. If you do not finish, then you do not eat. Understand?"

[The boy, Lucas, nods excitedly. After walking over, he takes a marker used on SMART boards from Dr. Child and goes to stand in front of the leftmost board. It is a maze of relatively simplicity. Lucas finishes it after a minute, and turns to Dr. Child. Lucas hands over the marker and, after a nod of approval, takes the tupperware container. Sitting back in his desk, Lucas tears off the lid and voraciously eats the simple meal with his dirty hands. Dr. Child is seen taking a towel out of his bag and tossing it to Lucas. More nervous laughter ripples through the student audience.]

"The need for food, water, shelter, and that sort of thing can make a person…"

[Dr. Child lectures on the motivation of hunger and survival for twenty minutes. Lucas finishes the meal in ten, wiping his hands clean. He sits back, full and satisfied, and his eyes droop occasionally. Dr. Child eventually reaches another form of motivation: money]

"It is the world to some people, and the lust for more cash and more stuff can greatly motivate us. To the poor, it is how they are able to survive as well! Without it, how can they eat tomorrow? Which brings me to my second little exhibition. Lucas, finished already? [The boy nods happily to more comforted chuckles in the crowd.] Wonderful! Would you like to do another test, for food money this time?"

[Lucas stands up from the desk as Dr. Child pulls out several twenty dollar bills. The boy's eyes stare at them as they did at the tupperware container earlier. As a small joke, Dr. Child moves the money around, causing Lucas to watch it go around with his head. Some slight laughs are heard among the students. Dr. Child instructs Lucas to solve some simple math problems on the second SMART board from the left. Upon completion, Lucas receives what is later determined to be $220 in twenty dollar bills.

Upon attempting to return to his seat, Lucas pockets the money. Dr. Child grabs the boy's arm and takes out handcuffs from a pocket inside his jacket. Dr. Child then locks the boy to a metallic part of the shocker. Lucas looks back questionably as Dr. Child begins a lecture on pain as a form of motivation. The boy is visibly concerned, and begins resisting against the handcuffs. Dr. Child sees this, pulls out a small device from a pants pocket, and presses a button. Lucas lets out a yelp of pain from what can only be an electrical shock. He rubs his wrist where the handcuff chains him. Dr. Child instructs the boy to stay quiet as the lecture continues. Lucas backs away as far as he can, keeping his eyes on the professor.

Ms. Telling is heard whispering to a nearby friend]

"Oh my god, did he really just do that? Can he do that?"

[Several similar whispers are audible in the crowd. At this point, Ms. Telling picks up the camera from her desk and zooms in on the boy Lucas. He is visibly shaking. The machine looks too heavy for him to move effectively. The camera zooms back out, showing Dr. Child acting as if all is normal and continuing his lecture on the effects of pain and psychological conditioning.]

"Therefore, pain can motivate someone to complete a task correctly and carefully in order to avoid it altogether. Lucas, here is the marker again. I want you to complete this third puzzle behind us."

[Lucas is able to reach the board, but only to where the handcuffs will be stretched out as far as they can go. In front of him is a 3x3 Sudoku puzzle with instructions written at the top. The boy begins to fill it out. He gets through several numbers when he receives a second electrical shock. It is later discovered that Dr. Child had written a program to deliver an automatic shock for every wrong number entered. The shock takes the boy by surprise, and he yelps again. Ms. Telling zooms in again to see Lucas shaking as he writes numbers. Another shock hits him, and from the sound of the boy's cry of pain, the shock seemed to have intensified. He looks back at Dr. Child, who is only staring out into the students. The crowd makes no noise as Lucas turns back around and tries to continue.

The boy appears to lose his concentration and is quickly afraid to write in numbers for fear of them being incorrect. He gets shocked seven more times in increasing intensity. After a grim and tense 15 minutes, the puzzle is complete and Lucas puts the marker back onto the table. Dr. Child checks to see that the puzzle is finished, and turns to speak again.]

"Interesting note to make is that pain can perhaps reduce our motivation to continue with a process. Of course it would! Why would someone want to continue with something that gave them pain? It would make no sense, unless it is a person that is into that kind of thing."

[Dr. Child chuckles to himself at his own joke, the only one in the room to do so. Lucas appears to be breathing hard and looks at Dr. Child pleadingly. Dr. Child only continues with the lecture.]

"And lastly, I shall bring this full circle and continue with the base motivation, survival. Without this motivation, we would never be here. We couldn't continue existence without the instinctive motivation. So finally…"

[Dr. Child pulls a rubber glove from his bag and drags the shocker in front of the final SMART board, pulling Lucas with it. The boy is on the verge of tears and clearly distraught.]

"The fear of death. We will do anything to keep it away. When we fear death, we stay quiet and obedient, and dare not raise a hand against the one who has the power to kill. Therefore, Lucas, if you cannot solve this final puzzle, you will die."

[Dr. Child steps back and pulls out a .45 caliber handgun from a jacket pocket and points it directly at the boy. Lucas is heard whimpering loudly. Dr. Child appears not to notice. Lucas cowers away from Dr. Child with tears freely rolling down his face. Several cries of "Oh my God!" and other curses are heard throughout the crowd.]

"You have thirty minutes."

[The puzzle reads XQU NTN USP NS BSLQTBM LS QAEZ FA, AJAB XQAB QA QPGL FA?, with the following instructions: "Every letter is to be replaced by another letter until a fully formed question appears. For example, 'ZKYXMPZZKS' would equal 'LONGFELLOW'. Hint: N->D, A->E"

Lucas slowly regains his composure and reads over the puzzle. He casts nervous glances at Dr. Child every minute. He begins to fill in letters.

Ms. Telling zooms in one final time. Dr. Child has a serious, ominous look on his face as he keeps aim at Lucas and occasionally looks down at his watch. Lucas is unable to control his shaking, and his tears refuse to stop falling. His handwriting is shaky and he can barely hold onto the marker.

One by one, Lucas fills in the letters of the puzzle. He eventually reaches a point where most of the crowd can mentally solve it, where another murmur runs through the crowd, and slight sobbing can be heard nearby. Lucas finally finishes the puzzle, twenty seven minutes after beginning it. His hand falls to his side and his head bows, clearly traumatized. Dr. Child lowers the gun. The finished puzzle on the board reads "WHY DID YOU DO NOTHING TO HELP ME, EVEN WHEN HE HURT ME" Dr. Child addresses the class a final time.]

"And so, you as students have refused to interrupt my class to help this boy. He was clearly suffering from electrical pain and extreme discomfort, and none of you dared speak out against me. I had a gun to his head and none of you asked me to put it down. I threatened to hurt and kill Lucas and you did not raise your voices. The next time this happens in your life, it won't be myself doing these things. It won't be just a single child standing in the front of the room. You could be one of the crowd that says nothing to someone begging for help. You could be in your living room, watching the newscasters tell you all sorts of things that authority figures are doing that they should not. If you fall into the crowd and stay the same course as those around you, then you have no power as an individual, and you cannot control what happens around you.

Today's topic was never changed, it was always going to be Groupthink. You have failed this class, all of you. Make sure that next time, you speak up.


[Dr. Child places his gun back into his suit jacket and releases the boy from the handcuffs. Lucas falls to a sitting position and is obscured from view by the table. He can be heard sobbing loudly from behind the table. Sirens had become audible outside the building, and two minutes after Dr. Child finishes his monologue the room is stormed by policemen. No shots are fired, and Dr. Child peacefully surrenders.]

End transcription.

Further Incident Details: The boy in question was Lucas Black, a homeless child with no surviving family. He had been living in the streets with a group of vagrants for the past three years. According to him, Dr. Child approached him that morning and promised him food and a comfortable home so long as he was obedient. Since Lucas had not eaten for two days prior, he was quickly agreeable and travelled with Dr. Child to the class. He is now currently with Child Services to be placed in a suitable home. It is likely that he will keep the $220 once trial has ended.

Dr. Child will be undergoing a mental evaluation before standing trial. Charges include kidnapping, assault, and cruelty to children. It is unclear how long Dr. Child was planning this “exhibition”, or if he had known or knew of Lucas prior to the date of the incident. However, it is obvious that the lecture was planned far in advance. Investigations are pending.


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